two glasses of iced irish cream with chocolate and cinnamon sticks on wooden table

What Is Irish Cream? Explore Its History, Facts, and Drinking Tips

Irish cream is a creamy drink that’s great when served as a dessert, standalone beverage, or even as a cocktail. It has a creamy flavor that mixes well with the spice of Irish whiskey, so every sip gives you a comfy sensation, followed by a spice that warms the body. This makes it a great drink for the holidays, especially during the colder winter months.

Another common use of Irish whiskey is to spike coffee and other dessert drinks. It’s also used in mudslides, spiked milkshakes, and other creamy alcoholic beverages. So, if you want your coffee to have an extra kick after dinner, add some Irish cream instead of regular cream.

While Irish cream is a simple drink, there’s a lot that goes into making or buying it. Read on to learn more about what Irish whiskey is, how to make it, and how it should be used.

Irish Whiskey: The Main Facts

Irish whiskey is a simple drink that combines a handful of ingredients. It’s a type of cream liqueur that combines Irish whiskey, cream, and some other flavorings like cinnamon. In fact, you can add your own spin to Irish whiskey by adding different flavors and spices that you enjoy. Burnt sugar, chocolate nibs, and vanilla are also some other ingredients that companies like Baileys put in their Irish whiskey.

When it comes to flavor, Irish whiskey packs a punch. At first, it has a smooth flavor that resembles something sweet that you would have after dinner for dessert. Then, the Irish whiskey comes out and gives it a hint of spice. Adding sugar, cinnamon, and other ingredients can further limit this spiciness or bring it out even more.

Typically, Irish whiskey is used as a dessert drink. People add it to coffee, hot chocolate, mudslides, and other beverages for an enjoyable pick-me-up at the end of the evening. Therefore, it’s a classy drink that’s not always found in every bar. That said, some sports bars and other similar venues will have Irish whiskey and the ingredients you need to make it.

What Is the Alcohol Content of Irish Whiskey?

The alcohol content of Irish whiskey varies, but it has a range of about 15% to 20% ABV (alcohol by volume). The alcohol content mostly comes from the Irish whiskey and how much is used when you create the drink. Most companies like Baileys will have their pre-made Irish cream with an alcoholic percentage of 15-20 percent, but homemade Irish cream can reach up to 50% ABV and still taste good with the right ingredients.

What Is Irish Whiskey Made From?

Irish cream is made from a handful of ingredients, but the primary ones are Irish whiskey and cream. Irish whiskey is a smooth whiskey that’s distilled in Ireland, hence the name, and made from barley and other grains. Depending on the manufacturer, Irish whiskey has notes of cereal grain, oak, and caramel, followed by a fruity flavor.

The other main ingredient in Irish whiskey is heavy cream. Ultimately, the Irish part comes from the Irish whiskey, and the cream part comes from the use of heavy cream that you would use in coffee and other hot beverages. While heavy cream is preferred, if you want to keep the pounds off, opt for a lighter cream. If you like the taste of Irish cream but want something without cream, give sambuca a shot instead.

The last group of ingredients are flavor enhancers. Some examples include chocolate sauce, vanilla extract, sugar, and cinnamon. Ultimately, the manufacturer determines the rest of the ingredients aside from the cream and whiskey. For example, Baileys uses cocoa extract and sugar.

What Is the Primary Ingredient of Irish Whiskey?

Irish cream has two primary ingredients: Irish whiskey and cream. Without the whiskey or cream, you can’t have Irish cream, so these ingredients are both the primary ingredients you need to create the drink in its purest form. That said, the type of Irish whiskey and cream will vary based on the manufacturer of the Irish cream in question.

How Is Irish Cream Made?

Irish cream can be made in a few ways, but if you’re looking to pick up a bottle of something like Baileys, that process differs from how you would make it at home. Therefore, we’ll take you through how Baileys is made to give you an idea of the process.

Baileys is made by combining cream with Irish whiskey. The whiskey acts as a preservative for the cream, which gives it a shelf-life of about two years. In fact, the process is similar to making ice cream but without the artificial preservatives. The next part of the process is mixing chocolate nibs, vanilla, sugar, and burnt sugar.

How Is Irish Cream Distilled or Filtered?

Irish cream isn’t distilled or filtered like other alcoholic beverages. The only part of the drink that’s distilled and filtered is the Irish whiskey.

Typically, Irish whiskey is distilled with a process known as pot still distillation. This heats the still to a temperature that evaporates the lighter alcohol. and the gasses rise to the top of the neck. From there, the rest of the wash remains still, and the vapors are collected on spirit receivers. Then, the process of condensation gives you the result of Irish whiskey. This process takes a lot of repetition.

Can You Make Irish Whiskey Yourself?

The best way to enjoy Irish whiskey is by purchasing a brand name like Baileys, but you can also get a bottle of Irish whiskey and make Irish cream yourself. The ingredients that you need include Irish whiskey, heavy whipping cream, erythritol, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and instant espresso powder (optional).

To make the cream, combine the heavy cream and erythritol in a pan using low heat. From there, stir the mixture until the erythritol dissolves in the cream. Depending on the ingredients, this may take about five minutes.

Next, add in your vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and any other ingredients you want to include. Mix them in the mixture until they dissolve. The last step is to turn the heat off, remove the cream, and mix in the whiskey until it combines with the cream.

Take Over the Holidays With Irish Cream

irish cream poured into two glasses on black table

Want to impress your guests this winter or over the holidays? Get a bottle of Irish cream and get ready for a cozy, comforting, and festive night. Feel free to incorporate as many ingredients as you want until the flavor tastes like your own, or keep things classic. No matter what, Irish cream will make any day feel like a holiday.

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